web analytics

Hone and the lawyers

Written By: - Date published: 5:45 pm, January 27th, 2011 - 21 comments
Categories: maori party, Maori seats - Tags:

The Maori Party has budgeted $22,000 for legal advice regarding the complaint made against Hone Harawira for stating the obvious, and hired Mai Chen to boot, to coin a phrase. Chen has pointed to the decision in Peters v Collinge where Justice Fisher stated that disciplinary matters were political issues and all that was required for parties was to follow their procedures. Other legal bloggers  such as Imperatorfish and Andrew Geddis at Pundit opine that as long as it follows its procedures the Maori Party is free to dismiss Hone.

I am not a lawyer but have had experience of dealing with a few disciplinary complaints and requests for expulsion. I agree with the Honourable judge that these matters are fundamentally political, and  also that it is absolutely crucial that any Party scrupulously follows its own procedures.

There is a strange anomaly in the Maori Party Constitution. It first of all states that all decisions of its governing Council are to be made by consensus, and goes on to attempt a definition of what this means.

(Consensus may be defined as a process of ‘whakawhitiwhiti whakaaro,’ To arrive at an outcome at which those present, are accepting’).

However there are no such procedural requirements specified for its five-person disciplinary committee, whose quorum is three, and where it appears the matter will now head.  Nor are any powers specified as to what this committee may or may not do to “seek resolution of the matter”, simply that it report decisions to the National Council. It is unclear whether this is for endorsement or for information. If it is for endorsement it is unlikely to achieve consensus, given that Te Tai Tokerau is represented on the Council. Unlike the Labour Party constitution, there is no mention of natural justice or any right of appeal. It looks a bit like kangaroo kaupapa to me.

Mai Chen also said that issues relating to Hone have been under consideration for some time. The provision in the Constitution under which the complaint is to be dealt with was passed at the party’s annual hui last October. It would be interesting to know if Mai Chen’s advice was also sought in its drafting, and if that was where some of the $22,000 was spent. Even Mai couldn’t have spent all that this year. Either some of it is gone already or the Maori Party thinks the matter  will end up in court.

In my experience, just as the judges are wise to stay hands off,  the last people political parties want involved in these matters are lawyers. As with Richard Prebble and Labour in 1988, in the end it is the party that suffers.

21 comments on “Hone and the lawyers ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    I am sure the ordinary members of the mP will have no problem that their subs are being spent to boot out their favourite MP.

  2. Scott 2

    Other legal bloggers such as Imperatorfish and Andrew Geddis at Pundit opine that as long as it follows its procedures the Maori Party is free to dismiss Hone.

    Mike, while that’s true, the problem then is in determining what those procedures actually are. In this respect the Maori Party constitution is unhelpful, to say the least. That is where the party could potentially become unstuck if this matter ended up in the courts.

    It would be interesting to know if Mai Chen’s advice was also sought in its drafting, and if that was where some of the $22,000 was spent. Even Mai couldn’t have spent all that this year.

    I wouldn’t be so sure. A lawyer who is recognised as amongst the top in their field is probably charging out at somewhere north of $500 per hour plus GST. It could be a lot more than that.

    In my experience, just as the judges are wise to stay hands off, the last people political parties want involved in these matters are lawyers. As with Richard Prebble and Labour in 1988, in the end it is the party that suffers.

    Given the dog’s breakfast that is the Maori Party consititution it was probably inevitable, and was probably prudent to get some legal advice. But making Mai Chen their de facto spokesperson might have been going too far…

  3. BLiP 3

    Heading for the lawyers? Heh – what a very pakeha Tory thing to do.

  4. The Voice of Reason 4

    The disciplinary committee really can’t make a decision, give that it has no clear mandate to do so and to even try would lead straight to a messy court case. In fact, from what I read above, the party have no capacity to expel an MP at all, as long as he or she has at least one supporter on the council. So they’ll back down, I guess.

  5. Jenny 5

    The differences between a democratic organisation and an autocratic one,

    -The latter often relies on top down bureaucratic procedure and legalisms, that removes decision making from the flaxroots, which is then imposed on the membership.

    -The former engages in full and open debate and discussion amongst its flax roots members before coming to a majority collective decision that is then imposed on the leadership.

    The Alliance experience shows which model will keep its supporters and which will be abandoned at the polls.

    • McFlock 5.1

      Having the dictator hang around for however-many months shitting on his own party (or so claimed at the time) also helped, FWIW.

    • Drakula 5.2

      Yes it was sad how Jim Anderton couldn’t work with very talented people like Laila Hari etc.

      Anderton did some great things like establish Kiwibank (that Key wants to flog off) and he wants to include dental treatment into the health program, but if it wasn’t for his bloody ego he would be a serious contender in challenging the present regime.

      And I say that because I don’t feel easy about Geoff!!!

  6. I feel a little sympathy for them on this one. The constitution is loose, definitions are hazy, whatever they do someone will point the finger and say “that’s not very maori mate”. There can be no good outcomes for the maori party while they refuse to hear the truth and they definately are not listening. Change the leadership, go back to maori instead of the gnats is the answer but as many have said that seems too hard for them and that will cost them dearly come the election.

  7. Drakula 7

    It seems increadable that the party heirarchy hires a lawer because it can’t interpret it’s own constitutional procedures.

    And their constitution has no right of appeal and the heirarchy does not tolerate honest criticism.

    May be it’s time to fix the broken watch!!!!!!!

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      Why fix the watch? If you wait just a bit longer, the Maori Party’s watch will be showing the right time again. Briefly.

  8. …attempt a definition of what this means… no such procedural requirements specified for its five-person disciplinary committee… Nor are any powers specified as to what this committee may or may not do… It is unclear whether this is for endorsement or for information… there is no mention of natural justice or any right of appeal.

    And the Maori Party aren’t alone in having a constitution that’s got more holes than a colander. If a constitution this defective were presented to the Registrar of Incorporated Societies or the Companies Office it would be rejected and sent back for re-drafting.

    Or at the the very least the members of such a body would have a clear recourse to the courts to sort out any disputed interpretation.

    Yet in Peters v Collinge and in the case myself and David Stevenson brought against Peters, Henare and Woollerton the courts have held that political parties can exist under any damn constituion they please. If I started a party tomorrow I could adopt the text of Dr Seuss as its constitution and provided I could find 499 other lunatics, I’d have no problem.

    Yet the open and democratic functioning of political parties in turn affects the openness, accountability and integrity of our democracy.

    It’s not something the courts can fix: it needs legislation. Something declaring a political party to be an incorporated society (with such special provisions, if any, as may be necessary) would do it.

    To allow this to continue makes a farce out of elections. People vote for the Maori Party knowing (and perhaps even wanting) that Hone will be an MP, and then might find that choice negated… perhaps… maybe… depends… we’re not quite sure…

    That’s bullshit. It’s no way to run an organisation which, in turn, runs the country.

  9. Jenny 9

    legalisms –

    How many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

    Democracy –

    The angels decide themselves if they should even be dancing on the head of a pin, at all.

  10. Drakula 10

    Rex has a point; being an incorporated society gives that organisation a fair amount of protection, which is important because the society is taken to court or sued but the individual members are protected.

    Political parties may be protected by parliamentary privalidge I don’t know.

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      Political parties may be protected by parliamentary privalidge I don’t know.

      Quite certain that they are not.

      Even MP’s saying stuff outside of Parliament are not protected by Parliamentary privilege.

    • Dracula

      being an incorporated society gives that organisation a fair amount of protection

      It does but interestingly Labour, the Nats and the Maori Party amongst others are not incorporated. Theoretically if they were sued successfully the members would have to coff up.

      Parliamentary privilege applies only to things said in the House during debates or in committee during their hearings.

    • lprent 10.3

      As far as i’m aware, only MP’s speaking in the house have that immunity.

      • Andrew Geddis 10.3.1

        Parliamentary privilege applies to the occasion, not to the person speaking. Thus, anything said by anyone during a “proceeding of Parliament” (which includes sittings of the House and its committees, but (probably) not party caucus meetings) gets the benefit.

        Point of it is not only to allow full, free and frank debate, but also to prevent courts and Parliament treading on each others toes. So, judges can’t second guess what happens in Parliament, because as a matter of law there is no basis for them to do so. Equally, MPs are meant not to second guess what judges do in individual cases. Separation of powers, and all that.

        • lprent 10.3.1.1

          Ah good point. I did know that – now that the brain has cleared the waking fug.

          On a side issue, what would be the possible argument behind the party caucus meetings? I was trying of think of one and coming up blank. The only thing I could see was related to the recognition of political parties expressed in MMP finally being seen in parliament.

          • Andrew Geddis 10.3.1.1.1

            The argument is that MPs caucusing together is so tied up with parliamentary business that it should count as a “parliamentary proceeding”.

            There is a High Court decision (Rata v A-G) that found this to be the case. The Court of Appeal expressly said this was a wrong conclusion in its decision on Donna Awatere Huata’s expulsion from Parliament … but the Supreme Court then said that this decision was itself not necessarily right (or wrong). Hence the “probably” in my original comment.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Upper Hauraki to move to Alert Level 2
    Upper Hauraki will move to Alert Level 2 from 11:59pm tomorrow, 25 September, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. After positive cases were detected in the Upper Hauraki area on Sunday, extra Alert Level restrictions were put in place to immediately prevent any wider transmission of the virus.  “We’ve ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Report into Aotearoa New Zealand’s export controls system released
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today welcomed the findings of an independent review into Aotearoa New Zealand’s export controls system, which regulates the export of goods to foreign militaries, police forces or paramilitaries. Produced by David Smol, a former Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • New District Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General David Parker has announced the appointment of Brett Crowley of Wellington as a District Court Judge.  He is currently the Wellington Public Defender and started his career as a staff solicitor working in a range of litigation including criminal defence work. He went to the bar in 1999 specialising ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Mental health stocktake shows strong progress
    The first report of the Government’s Implementation Unit has found strong progress has been made since the Mental Health and Addictions Package was announced in 2019. “The report notes most initiatives funded in the Budget 2019 package are on track to deliver what is expected by 2023/24,” Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Working together to grow the West Coast
    A project that has been crucial in allowing businesses to continue during the tourism downturn is among a number of initiatives to receive a boost from the Government’s Jobs For Nature programme, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. Sustaining South Westland is an extension of an initiative set up last year ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Next steps to improve safety in wake of Whakaari White Island tragedy
    The Government is moving to improve safety in light of the Whakaari White Island tragedy and has released proposals to reinforce safety standards in registered adventure activities. The package of proposals includes: Strengthening requirements for how operators, landowners and the regulator manage natural hazard risks Improving how risks are monitored, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • New Zealand donates more COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX and the Pacific
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta and Associate Health Minister Aupito William Sio announced today that New Zealand is donating additional Pfizer vaccines to the Pacific and AstraZeneca vaccines to the COVAX Facility, to support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. “New Zealand is donating 708,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Speech to the Property Council of New Zealand
    Kia ora koutou katoa   Is it a pleasure to be able to speak with you today, and to be able to answer some questions you may have. I would like to acknowledge the organisers of this event, the Property Council. The theme of this year’s conference is City Shapers. Together ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Additional MIQ for Christchurch
    An additional hotel will be added to our network of managed isolation and quarantine facilities, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I have approved and Cabinet is in the final stages of signing off The Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch as a new managed isolation facility,” Chris Hipkins said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ COVID-19 response earns another major digital investment
    Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications Dr David Clark welcomes Amazon’s Web Services’ (AWS) decision to establish a Cloud Region on New Zealand shores, further boosting New Zealand’s growing digital sector, and providing a vote of confidence in the direction of New Zealand’s economic recovery. “Amazon is the second ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand invests in cutting edge cancer R&D
    Scaling up the manufacture of CAR T-cell cancer therapy for clinical trials Advancing New Zealand’s biomedical manufacturing capability Supporting future international scientific collaborations Transforming cancer care with targeted, affordable solutions Research, Science and Innovation Minister Hon Dr Megan Woods has announced that the fight against COVID-19 will not stop the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Expert group appointed to lead New Zealand’s future health system
    An outstanding group of people with extensive and wide-ranging governance and health experience have been appointed to lead the Māori Health Authority and Health New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “This Government is building a truly national health system to provide consistent, high-quality health services right across the country. This ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Funding to help clean up contaminated sites
    The Government is supporting the clean-up of contaminated sites in Northland, Dunedin and Southland to reduce risk to people’s health and protect the environment. Environment Minister David Parker said the funding announced today, through the Contaminated Sites Remediation Fund, will help us turn previously hazardous sites into safe, usable public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Predator Free apprenticeships open up new job opportunities
    The expansion of a predator free apprenticeship programme is an opportunity for more people to kick-start a conservation career, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “The Predator Free Apprenticeship Programme is focused on increasing the number of skilled predator control operators in New Zealand through a two-year training programme. “The Trust ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Further NCEA support confirmed for Auckland students
    The number of Learning Recognition Credits for senior secondary school students will be increased for Auckland students, Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed today. This recognises the extended time these students will spend in Alert Levels 3 and 4. “It means students in Auckland will have a fair opportunity to attain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Long-term pathway next step to better mental wellbeing for New Zealanders
    The Government is taking a new approach to support people who experience mental distress, Health Minister Andrew Little says. “Kia Manawanui Aotearoa – Long-term pathway to mental wellbeing (Kia Manawanui) is the first 10-year plan of its kind that targets the cause of mental distress and also sets out how ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Keeping our Police safe to keep our communities safe
    The Government is committed to keeping our frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe – with one of the largest investments in frontline safety announced by Police Minister Poto Williams at the Police College today.   The $45 million investment includes $15.496 million in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Clean Vehicles Bill passes first checkpoint
    The Land Transport (Clean Vehicles) Amendment Bill will help New Zealand drive down transport emissions by cleaning up the light vehicle fleet, Transport Minister Michael Wood says. The Bill passed its first reading today and will establish the legislative framework for key parts of the Government’s Clean Car Package, including ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding boost supports ongoing Māori COVID-19 response
    The Government is responding to the need by whānau Māori and Māori Health providers to support their ongoing work responding to COVID-19 and to continue increasing rates of Māori vaccination, Associate Minister for Health (Māori Health), Peeni Henare and Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson announced today.   This increased ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Significant increase to COVID-19 penalties
    Penalties for breaches of COVID-19 orders are set to significantly increase from early November 2021 to better reflect the seriousness of any behaviour that threatens New Zealand’s response to the virus, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Throughout this Delta outbreak we’ve seen the overwhelming majority of people doing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill returns to Parliament
    The Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill has returned to Parliament for its second reading in an important step towards giving enforcement agencies greater power to protect New Zealanders from terrorist activity. “The Bill addresses longstanding gaps in our counter terrorism legislation that seek to protect New Zealanders and make us safer,” Justice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Joint Statement: New Zealand and Australian Trade Ministers
    Hon Damien O'Connor MP, New Zealand Minister for Trade and Export Growth, and Hon Dan Tehan MP, Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, met virtually on Monday 20 September to advance trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement (CER). CER is one of the most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Prime Minister’s Post Cabinet Press Conference/COVID-19 Update opening statement
    ***Please check against delivery***   E te tī, e te tā, nau mai rā [To all, I bid you welcome]   As you will have seen earlier, today there are 22 new community cases to report; three of which are in Whakatiwai in the Hauraki area, and the remainder in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Major milestones for Māori COVID-19 vaccine rollout as new campaign launches
    Whānau Ora and Associate Health (Māori Health) Minister Peeni Henare acknowledges two major milestones in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme for Māori. “I am very pleased to announce more than 50 percent of eligible Māori have received their first dose and 25 per cent are now fully vaccinated,” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government funding to fight infectious diseases
    $36 million for research into Covid-19 and other infectious diseases The investment will improve our readiness for future pandemics Research will focus on prevention, control, and management of infectious diseases The Government’s investing in a new Infectious Diseases Research Platform to boost Aotearoa New Zealand’s Covid-19 response and preparedness for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Quarantine-free travel with Australia to remain suspended for a further 8 weeks
    Suspension to be reviewed again mid to late November Decision brought forward to enable access from Australia to first tranche of around 3000 rooms in MIQ Air New Zealand working at pace to put on more flights from Australia from October    The suspension of quarantine-free travel (QFT) with Australia has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Extra support for Ethnic Communities to share vaccination information
    Extra support is being made available to Ethnic Communities to help them share COVID-19 vaccination information within their communities, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “We know we need to get every eligible person in New Zealand vaccinated. A fund being launched today will allow for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • School holidays remain unchanged for Auckland region
    School holidays in Auckland will continue to be held at the same time as the rest of the country, starting from Saturday, 2 October, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “I’ve carefully considered advice on the implications of shifting the dates and concluded that on balance, maintaining the status quo ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government continues crackdown on gangs and organised crime
    Operation Tauwhiro extended until March 2022 Since it was launched in February, Operation Tauwhiro has resulted in:   987 firearms seized $4.99 million in cash seized 865 people charged with a firearms-related offence Gangs and organised crime groups will continue to be relentlessly targeted with the extension of Police’s successful ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to Body Positive 'HIV Treatments Update Seminar 2021'
    E ngā mana E ngā reo E ngā iwi Tēnā koutou katoa Ka huri ki ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei. Tēnā koutou. He mihi hoki ki a tatou kua tau mai nei I raro I te kaupapa o te rā. Nō reira tēnā koutou katoa Acknowledgements It’s a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Power bill changes bring fairness to charges
    A key recommendation of an independent panel to make electricity charges fairer across all households will be put in place, the Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has announced. “Phasing out the regulations on ‘low-use’ electricity plans will create a fairer playing field for all New Zealanders and encourage a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished
    The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said. GDP rose 2.8 percent in the June quarter, following on from a 1.4 percent increase in the previous March quarter. This was a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Projects create benefits into the future
    Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “It’s no secret that many of our most ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Opening statement for Whāriki Indigenous Small Business Roundtable
      Kei ngā tōpito e wha o te āo e rere ana te mihi maioha ki a koutou nō tawhiti, nō tata mai e tāpiri ana ki tēnei taumata kōrero mo te ao hokohoko arā mā ngā pākihi mo ngā iwi taketake Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa – Pai Mārire.  ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New members appointed to Kāpuia
    The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “I’m looking forward to having Pamela MacNeill, Huia Bramley, Melani Anae and Katherine Dedo  join Kāpuia and contribute to this group’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan
    Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today. “Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed
    Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today. The Government signalled this work in Budget 2021. “From 1 January, 2022, centres opting into the scheme will receive government funding and be ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Conference 2021
    Kia Ora tatau katoa.   Ka tuku mihi ki nga nēhi, He pou Hauora o Aotearoa, E ora ai tatou.   Whakatau mai  I runga i te kaupapa o te ra Te NZNO conference.   Tena koutou tena koutou Tena tatou katoa   Good morning, and thank you inviting me ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government investment in farmer-led catchment groups sweeps past 150 mark
    171 catchment groups have now been invested in by the Government 31 catchment groups in the Lower North Island are receiving new support More than 5,000 farmers are focussed on restoring freshwater within a generation through involvement in catchment groups  Government investment in on-the-ground efforts by farmers to improve land ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Fight to protect kauri on track
    The Government is pitching in to help vital work to protect nationally significant kauri forests in Auckland, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. “Ensuring the survival of these iconic trees for future generations means doing everything we can to prevent the potential spread of kauri dieback disease,” Kiri Allan said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago